• Ramanuja, who was born in Sriperumbudur, near modern-day Chennai, preached Vishishta Advaita Vada in the 12th century.
  • Ramanujacharya was named Lakshmana at the time of his birth. He was also referred to as Ilaya Perumal which means the radiant one.
  • Ramanujacharya believes that God is Saguna Brahman and that the creative process, encompassing all of creation’s things, is genuine and not illusory, as Shankaracharya believed.
  • As a result, Ramanuja believes that God, soul, and matter are all real. The inner substance, on the other hand, is God, and the rest are his qualities.
  • As in dualism, the universe and Brahman are considered two equally real entities, in Vishishta Advaita Vada, but the universe is generated out of Brahman rather than being separate from it.
  • The Brahman is regarded as a personal god with omniscience who created the universe from himself.
  • As a result, the world bears the relation of the portion to the whole or the relation of a ‘qualified consequence’ to the base to Brahman.
  • Brahman is the sea, and the objects of the world, both living and nonliving, are the waves upon this sea, according to the famous analogy.
  • Brahman, according to Ramanuja, is a completely personal god who is thought to be Vishnu or one of his avatars. Vishnu, he believed, created the universe out of his love for people, and he also ruled over it at every turn.
  • He also believed that Vishnu possesses all of the characteristics of a personal god, such as omniscience and omnipotence.
  • The difference between Dualism and Vishishta Advaita is that “mankind has a greater rank and is closer to God than in pure dualistic worship.
  • Both the universe and Brahman are equally existent in Vishishta Advaita, they have not considered two independent realities as they are in Dualism.
  • Ramanuja was a proponent of prabattimarga or self-surrender to God. He preached Bhakti redemption and welcomed underprivileged people to Vaishnavism.
  • Sribhashya, Vedanta Dipa, Gita Bhasya, and Vedantasara are some of his works.
  • He traveled across India, advocating equality and social justice.
  • He revived the Bhakti movement, and his preachings inspired other Bhakti schools of thought.
  • He is considered to be the inspiration for poets like Annamacharya, Bhakta Ramdas, Thyagaraja, Kabir, and Meerabai.
  • He went on to write nine scriptures known as the navaratnas, and composed numerous commentaries on Vedic scriptures.
    • Ramanuja’s most important writings include his commentary on the Vedanta Sutras (the Sri Bhasya, or “True Commentary”), and his commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita (the Gitabhasya, or “Commentary on the Gita”).
    • His other writings include the Vedartha Samgraha (“Summary of the Meaning of the Veda”), the Vedantasara (“Essence of Vedanta”), and Vedantadipa (“Lamp of Vedanta”).
  • He has also stressed the need of being in tune with nature and not to over-exploit.
Ramanujacharya , Statue of Equality
Statue of Equality

Vishishta Advaita Vada

  • Vishishtadvaita is one of the most popular schools of Hindu philosophy from the Vedanta school.
  • Vedanta is the Sanskrit word for “end of the Vedas.” Vishisht Advaita is a non-dualistic Vedanta school of thought.
  • It is a non-dualism of the qualified whole, in which Brahman is recognized as the Supreme Reality alone, yet it is distinguished by plurality.
  • Qualified monism, qualified nondualism, or attributive monism are all terms that might be used to define it.
  • It is a Vedanta philosophical school that claims that all variation is subsumed by an underlying unity.
  • Vishishtadvaita is based on three main ideas.
    • Tattva: Jiva (living souls; sentient), ajiva (nonsentient), and Ishvara are the three true beings that are known as tattva (Vishnu-Narayana or Parahbrahman, Supreme-self and the cause of all manifestations and in-dwelling giver of grace based on Karma).
    • Hita: The ways of attaining realization, such as bhakti (devotion) and prapatti (practice) (self-surrender).
    • Vivishta: the most exclusive (apart from the rest)
    • Purushartha: The desired outcome, such as moksha (freedom from enslavement).

Literary works of Ramanujacharya

  • Sri Ramanujacharya authored nine scriptures known as the Navrathnas.
  • Vedartha-Sangraha – The concepts of Visishtadvaita, a reconciliation of various competing sruthis, are presented in this text.
  • Sri Bhashya – A comprehensive commentary on the Vedanta Sutras.
  • Sri Bhashyam, the greatest commentary on the Brahma Sutras, is Sri Ramanuja’s magnum opus.
  • This magnificent contribution was one of three desires granted by Sri Ramanujacharya for His respected mentor and Guru Sri Yamunacharya, who died before seeing Sri Ramanuja in person.
  • Gita-Bhasya – An in-depth analysis of the Bhagavad-Gita.
  • Vedanta-Dipa – A synopsis of the Vedanta Sutras.
  • Vedanta-Sara – A concise commentary on the Vedanta Sutras intended for novices.
  • Saranagati-Gadyam – A prayer of complete surrender to Lord Srimannarayana’s lotus feet.
  • Sriranga-Gadyam – Self-surrender manuals to Lord Vishnu.
  • Sri Vaikunta-Gadyam – Describes Sri Vaikuntha-Loka and the freed souls’ status.
  • Nitya-Grantha – A brief guidebook designed to guide devotees through day-to-day prayer and activities.

Contributions of Ramanuja

  • His ultimate goal was to instill the Vedic way of life throughout society. He was a saint who spread the message of universal brotherhood.
  • He accepted the untouchables and treated them as if they were special. Seeing his love for the afflicted, His ecstatic guru bestowed upon him the coveted title ” Em-perum- anar,” which means ” you are ahead of us.”
  • Subjugated classes were given the term Thirukkulathar-Born Divine by Sri Ramanuja.
  • The Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya is a brilliant system devised by Ramanujacharya as a permanent tie to unite the universe’s diverse people through mutual respect and equality, uniting the entire world in one spiritual bond.
  • Ramanujacharya’s social philosophy was intended to transcend the caste system and include all of humanity.
  • As a result, he has been hailed as a great religious and social genius, and the title “Bhagwad” has been appropriately bestowed upon him.
  • From temple spires, he revealed the secret, important knowledge, and true substance of the Vedas to the average man.
  • He created the proper processes for rites done in temples all over India, the most notable of which are Tirumala and Srirangam. He wrote many commentaries on our Vedic classics.

Statue of Equality

  • Statue of Equality, or Ramanuja statue, is a bronze statue of 11th-century Vaishnavaite Ramanuja that is 36 kilometers away from Hyderabad.
  • It is the second tallest statue in the world. The Statue of Equality was inaugurated by the PM, marking the 1,000th birth anniversary of Ramanujacharya as the ‘Festival of Equality’.
  • Statue of Equality is a 216-foot-tall figure crafted of ‘panchaloha,’ a five-metal alloy consisting of gold, silver, copper, brass, and zinc.
  • The statue and the temple complex surrounding it were built by the Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami, a spiritual leader, and philanthropist, with the aim of promoting the message of social harmony and equality. 

Why is it called the Statue of Equality ?

  • Ramanuja was an advocate of social equality among all sections of people centuries ago, and encouraged temples to open their doors to everyone irrespective of caste or position in society at a time when people of many castes were forbidden from entering them.
  • He took education to those who were deprived of it. His greatest contribution is the propagation of the concept of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, which translates as “all the universe is one family”.
  • He traveled across India for several decades, propagating his ideas of social equality and universal brotherhood from temple podiums.
  • He embraced the socially marginalized and condemned, and asked royal courts to treat them as equals.
  • He spoke of universal salvation through devotion to God, compassion, humility, equality, and mutual respect, which is known as Sri Vaishnavam Sampradaya.
  • Ramanujacharya liberated millions from social, cultural, gender, educational, and economic discrimination with the foundational conviction that every human is equal regardless of nationality, gender, race, caste, or creed.

What is the Saint Ramanuj’s Connection with kashmir?

  • Ramanujacharya visited Kashmir in the 11th Century to get an important manuscript called Bodhayana Vritti, a treatise on the Brahma Sutras. 
    • The Bodhayana Vritti had the reputation of being the most authoritative explanation of the Brahma Sutras.
  • His disciple Kuresha accompanied him and committed the entire text to memory as local scholars did not permit Ramanujacharya to carry the manuscript out of Kashmir.
  • After returning to Srirangam, Ramanujacharya dictated the Sri Bhashyam, the commentary on Brahma Sutra and the Acharya’s most notable work, to Kuresha, who wrote it down.
  • Ramanujacharya again returned to Kashmir after 2 years to dedicate Sri Bhasyam to the region.

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